September 1st 2014
Although liquid powders enjoyed some popularity in Victorian and Edwardian times, it was not until after WWII that their full potential was developed.
August 11th 2014
The introduction of Stopette Spray Deodorant was associated with an important development in cosmetic packaging – the polyethylene squeeze bottle.
July 21st 2014
For most of the twentieth century a well-developed bust was very much in fashion and there were a wide range of treatments that were supposed to correct deficiencies.
July 1st 2014
The depression years of the 1930s were difficult times for many American cosmetic companies and some added vitamins to their skin creams to help improve sales.
June 16th 2014
Until the 1920s, the only way that superfluous hair could be safely removed from the body permanently was by electrolysis.
June 2nd 2014
Cucumbers were used to treat freckles and suntan but in the late nineteenth century some newspaper articles suggested this was because they contained arsenic.
April 21st 2014
The story of nail polish in the twentieth century is muddied by the fact that the terms polish, lacquer, varnish and enamel were used haphazardly.
March 31st 2014
Unwanted hair can be removed mechanically, electrically or chemically. Beauty Culture used all three practices but cosmetic chemists concentrated on chemical methods.
February 10th 2014
When Max Factor introduced Pan-Cake make-up in 1937, it was regarded as something new by cosmetic chemists until they looked into its formulation.
January 27th 2014
As women were confronted with the problems of carrying loose powder around in their purse or handbag, many made the switch to using compressed face powders.
January 14th 2014
Starting in the 1930s, Helena Rubinstein used a number of optical devices to drum up sales. One of these used a light filter only used by dermatologists many decades later.
December 30th 2013
Charles Henri Willi opened a cosmetic surgical practice which operated quite legally in London from 1911 to 1961 without Willi having any medical qualifications whatsoever.
November 11th 2013
Commonly called Violet Rays, high frequency machines have been used in Beauty Culture since the early twentieth century.
October 30th 2013
Lipsticks have their origins in nineteenth century lip-salves that contained a red colouring agent to redden the lips and make them look more attractive.
September 23rd 2013
In the 1940s, a number of French companies began to include chicken embryo extracts in their skin care lines.
September 9th 2013
Liquefying cleansing creams were introduced around 1920. These new creams were made only from oils and waxes, so they were water-free and not emulsions.
July 15th 2013
On June 7, 1955, ‘The $64,000 Question’ premiered on CBS-TV. The decision by Charles Revson to have Revlon sponsor the show had a dramatic effect on his fortunes.
July 1st 2013
In the early 1930s, Lady Esther became the top selling loose face powder in America largely due to advertising based on the ‘Bite Test’.
June 10th 2013
In 1905, Ernst Kromayer described the use of motor-driven, circular knives to gradually remove layers of the skin, and later introduced the use of rotating burrs.
June 3rd 2013
The 1920s saw the arrival of America’s first modern beauty craze – complexion clays.
April 29th 2013
Until the 1960s the most popular form of mascara in the twentieth century was the block or cake type.
April 18th 2013
Although turtle oil was used as a cosmetic by the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas, it did not find its way into Western skin creams, in any major way, until the 1930s.
April 1st 2013
Some beauty devices claimed to be able to remove wrinkles through the direct action of mechanical force; to literally ‘iron out wrinkles’.
March 13th 2013
A number of people have been credited with inventing false eyelashes including D. W. Griffith (1916), George Westmore (1917), Max Factor (1919) and Karl ‘Charles’ Nessler (1921).
February 26th 2013
As panchromatic film was sensitive to the full colour spectrum the make-up practices used for blue-sensitive or orthochromatic film no longer worked.
February 17th 2013
Stage actors who came to work in early silent films often assumed they knew all there was to know about make-up but soon realised they were mistaken.
January 8th 2013
Iontophoresis is a technique that uses an electrical current to move substances across the skin or other body surfaces.
December 14th 2012
In the late 1910s a new heat treatment was introduced – the paraffin bath – which immersed parts of the body in, or painted them with, melted paraffin wax.
November 26th 2012
In 1934, Lever Brothers placed an advertisement in the World-Telegram for Lux Toilet Soap, warning consumers about the dangers of ‘Cosmetic Skin’.
November 12th 2012
In 1958, Lambert-Hudnut introduced Elixir Natale and Cream Natale into the American market through its DuBarry line. Both cosmetics contained placental extract.
October 29th 2012
Although women often go to great lengths to remove facial hair, there is one place on their face where there never seems to be enough, their eyelashes.
September 11th 2012
In 1902, Helena Rubinstein arrived in Australia with minimal cash and few prospects. By 1905, she had money in the bank, and a thriving business.
August 30th 2012
Kohl was said to be used by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes but it was the silent movie ‘Vamps’ like Theda Bara and Pola Negri that generated the most interest in it.
August 7th 2012
By the end of the nineteenth century massage was widely practiced in Europe, Britain and the United States and was also adopted by beauty salons.
July 23rd 2012
Interest in lipsticks of the indelible type waxed and waned through the first half of the twentieth century but were generally more popular in the United States than elsewhere.
March 14th 2012
Like many other things, red and blue light was first used as a medical practice before being incorporated into Beauty Culture routines.
January 22nd 2012
Although there are numerous methods for temporarily getting rid of excess hair, before X-rays, the only recognized procedure for permanently removing hair was electrolysis.
January 10th 2012
The increased use of pastel shaded make-up after the Second World War was followed by a fashion for pearl lustre which made its way into a wide range of cosmetics.
January 2nd 2012
As silk and nylon stockings vanished from the shelves, women looked to alternatives. Some turned to leg make-up – also known as cosmetic or liquid stockings.
December 12th 2011
In its day, Pan-Cake make-up was the most successful line ever produced by Max Factor.
November 30th 2011
A smooth, soft and transparent skin was an important attribute for Victorian and Edwardian ladies. This made freckles a much hated skin blemish.
November 25th 2011
Many early beauty treatments were based on improving blood circulation. Athough massage was the most commonly used, vacuum suction was another contender.
October 22nd 2011
Wrinkles, sagging necks and double chins were commonly treated by early beauty culturists with physical contouring involving straps, bandages or tapes.
September 20th 2011
Given the rise of the physical culture movement in the nineteenth century it was inevitable that someone would apply its principles to sculpt the face.
September 5th 2011
In the early part of the twentieth century the Pompeian Manufacturing Company advised automobilists to use its massage cream to overcome the problems of ‘motor skin’.
August 29th 2011
In 1939, Charles of the Ritz introduced powder bars staffed with ‘blending experts’ who could make up face powder to match the skin tone of any customer.
August 10th 2011
Robert Chesebrough began selling petrolatum under the trade-name Vaseline Petroleum Jelly in 1870. After a slow start it went on to become an international best seller.
July 5th 2011
The most popular rolling cream of the twentieth century, ‘Pompeian Massage Cream’ began its life in 1901 as an after-shave massage cream.
June 26th 2011
Largely driven by new methods of preservation and some suspect research, the 1950s saw royal jelly being added to a number of cosmetic lines.
June 9th 2011
It is sometimes said that Eugene Rimmel was the originator of mascara. However the product he made was to be used on men’s moustaches not women’s eyelashes.
June 1st 2011
Before the days of false eyelashes, many actresses, dancers or others working in show business beaded their eyelashes to make them appear darker, fuller and longer.
May 15th 2011
In 1964, Helene Curtis Industries, Inc, introduced Magic Secret onto the American market in a blaze of television commercials.
April 18th 2011
Early beauty culturists preached the importance of ‘toning’, ‘stimulating’ or ‘freshening’ the skin by using some form of skin tonic, skin freshener or astringent.
April 4th 2011
Manual treatments such as massage, bandages, chin straps and patters were used in early Beauty Culture to treat wrinkles, flabbiness and double chins.
February 17th 2011
In 1931 Helena Rubinstein returned from Paris to personally introduce her new hormone preparations for the regeneration of skin youth into the United States.
January 16th 2011
Exactly why Elizabeth Arden’s decided to get involved with Hollywood is anyone’s guess. My money would be on Jock Whitney who Arden knew from the racetrack.
December 27th 2010
By the 1840s most theatre stages in the western world had adopted gas lighting. This required actors to change the way they dressed, acted and used make-up.
November 29th 2010
In October 1933, Paramount released a newsreel describing how several women had suffered corneal damaged from using an ‘eyelash beautifier’.
September 20th 2010
As the skin ages it thins and wrinkles. To some early observers this was due to a decline in subcutaneous fat, causing the skin to fall into folds.
August 30th 2010
The first commercial stearate cream was introduced in 1892 when Burroughs Wellcome began manufacturing Hazeline Snow.
July 19th 2010
Given the association between red cheeks and lips with European ideals of health and beauty, it is easy to see why red coloured cosmetics have a long history of use.
May 17th 2010
Nineteenth century physicians knew that hair grew from a ‘pulp’ at the base of the hair follicle and that eliminating it would permanently remove the hair.
April 19th 2010
The story of Maybelline usually starts with Tom Lyle Williams watching his sister Maybel applying burnt cork mixed into petroleum jelly to her eyebrows and lashes.
March 16th 2010
Rice powder was used as a base for perfume, as a powder or wash to lighten the skin, and as a powder to whiten wigs.
October 23th 2009
Face skinning or ecorchement treatments were used on clients who suffered from facial disfigurements such as pits, scars, marks and blotches.
September 16th 2009
In 1928, Schade and Marchionini coined the term ‘acid mantle’ to describe this low pH film and suggested that its function was to protect the skin from microbes.
August 17th 2009
Early face powders came in three shades, Blanche (white), Naturelle (pink), and Rachel (cream). The names were French so why was one colour called Rachel and not Crème?
August 8th 2009
Most of us use cosmetics everyday and we “know them when we see them”. However, are toothpaste, suntan lotion and anti-dandruff shampoos also cosmetics?
August 4th 2009
Most countries have legislation in place that requires manufacturers to include an ingredients list somewhere on their cosmetic products.
July 7th 2009
Mercury compounds, such as corrosive sublimate and ammoniated mercury, were used in cosmetics despite numerous warnings of their dangers.
June 17th 2009
Powdered pearl has a long history of use in face and body powders. The pearl used was most likely made from fresh-water, rather than the salt-water, oysters.
May 25th 2009
Although powder disappeared from wigs and hair in the nineteenth century it continued to be used by many women, even in Victorian times when cosmetics were disapproved of.
May 18th 2009
In her later years Alexandra still engaged in public appearances but took to wearing veils, wigs and apparently had her face ‘enameled’.
May 4th 2009
In film Goldfinger, Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) was killed by being covered in gold paint, reinforcing an urban legend.
April 25th 2009
An interesting description of a incident on the movie ’Hoodlum Saint’ describing use of a make-up technique to give William Powell a non-surgical face lift.
April 20th 2009
Vanishing creams seemed to disappear when spread onto the skin. The first commercial vanishing cream, Hazeline Snow, was introduced by Burroughs Wellcome in 1892.
April 14th 2009
Tho-Radia cosmetics had a wide product range some of which contained thorium chloride and radium bromide, both of which were radioactive.
April 6th 2009
Described as emulsions based on beeswax as emulsifier and thickener, these creams have a long history of cosmetic use.
March 31st 2009
Part of our morning ritual is to stand in front of a mirror applying cosmetics – like a moisturiser or foundation – to fix or minimise imperfections in our complexion.
March 22nd 2009
Max Factor is widely known for his contributions to the motion picture industry but is less well known for his developments in television make-up.
March 15th 2009
The introduction of sunscreens means that a wide range of cosmetics are now classified as therapeutic goods. These products do not require a full ingredients list.
March 6th 2009
Around 1935, Coty began marketing their loose face powders as ‘Air Spun’. The technology was used as a marketing tool to sell the company’s face powder.